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other issues

Reigniting a spirit of outrage on Earth Day

22 April, 2017

In honour of Earth Day, Staff Counsel Linda Nowlan looks at how the green movement can – and must – do more to keep the planet alive and thriving, as proposed by Peter Dauvergne in his book, Environmentalism of the Rich.

 

Today, April 22, we celebrate Earth Day, the day of action that started in 1970 and helped launch the environmental movement. 

Will the Canadian government “restore lost protections” for navigable waters?

11 April, 2017

The Liberal Party of Canada was elected in part on the basis of a promise to restore lost environmental protections – including reviewing the “elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act” in order to “restore lost protections and incorporate more modern safeguards.”  On March 23rd the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transportation reported on the results of its review, and made a series of recommendations related to Canada’s laws related to navigable waters. But does the Committee's report chart a path for delivering on the government’s election promises and restoring lost legal protections for the public right of navigation?


The review of the Navigation Protection Act is an opportunity to strengthen legal protection for navigation and the environment on all navigable lakes and rivers. (Photo: Arlen Tees).

How Teck Resources benefits from being the largest BC Liberal donor

5 April, 2017

Revelations about the amount of corporate money coming to the BC Liberals have many people asking: what are these companies getting in return? It’s a good question. After all, corporations are not supposed to spend their shareholders’ money without a reasonable expectation of a return. In addition to questions about BC Liberal donors receiving government contracts or particular favourable government decisions, it's important to recognize that large corporate donations may be aimed at achieving a more sympathetic regulatory environment - one in which a failure to comply with BC's environmental laws may not result in major consequences. Teck Resources Ltd. is one of the BC Liberals' largest donors, and some of its companies have been in chronic non-compliance with the province's laws, making it arguably a beneficiary of a pattern of declining environmental enfrocement in BC. Moreover, a failure to follow BC's environmental laws has not prevented Teck Coal Ltd. from receiving an unprecedented permit approval from Cabinet to expand those same operations. Large corporate donations raises fundamental questions about whether our politicians will regulate the hand that feeds their re-election campaigns. 

Revelations about the amount of corporate money coming to the BC Liberals – not to mention RCMP investigations – have many people asking: what are these companies getting in return? It’s a good question.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way – Canada’s commitment to marine protected areas

28 March, 2017

“Canadian governments can and must do much more to protect Canadian ecosystems and biodiversity,” says the latest report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – a must-read for anyone concerned about biodiversity protection in Canada. Staff Counsel Linda Nowlan breaks down the Committee’s recommendations, and how they could help ramp up marine protection on the Pacific coast.


Photo: Ray Morris via Flickr.

“Canadian governments can and must do much more to protect Canadian ecosystems and biodiversity,” says the latest report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development – a must-read for anyone concerned about biodiversity protection in Canada.

Identifying Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas – a red herring?

23 March, 2017

Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel – the marine area between Vancouver Island, Denman Island and Hornby Island – has been identified as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) because of its importance as spawning habitat for herring. But does that mean it gets any extra protection?

Marine Campaigner Maryann Watson explains what's really needed to protect this special area, highlighting the disconnect between scientific research and decisions around ocean management.


Photo: Pacific herring (Tavish Campbell)

While for many people budding trees and bulbs signal the return of spring, for coastal ecosystems and communities in British Columbia the changing of seasons is marked by the annual spawning of Pacific herring.

Back to schools: Canada’s fish happy with new report, look forward to amended law

13 March, 2017

Fish across Canada breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the top recommendation from the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report reviewing the Fisheries Act: to reinstate strong habitat protection for fish.

Fish across Canada breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the top recommendation from the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries and Oceans’ report reviewing the Fisheries Act: to reinstate strong habitat protection for fish.

West Coast reacts to Standing Committee report on Fisheries Act review

Friday, February 24, 2017

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – West Coast Environmental Law Association issued the following statement in response to today’s release of a report from the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, regarding its review of changes made in 2012 to the Fisheries Act:

Let’s talk parks – and let’s talk marine protection

25 January, 2017

If you value parks as a way to protect biodiversity, there are two chances for you to speak up: Parks Canada is currently seeking public feedback on parks through its website, Let’s Talk Parks, and regulations for a proposed new marine protected area (MPA) for the Scott Islands are also open for comment.

The Scott Islands, the site of a proposed new marine protected area, support 90% of Canada's tufted puffins. (Photo: Seabamirum)

If you value parks as a way to protect biodiversity, here are two chances to speak up:

Surfacing the science for ocean protection: Reflections from a diver

17 January, 2017

West Coast's new Marine Campaigner Maryann Watson explains why she's looking forward to bringing together the important scientific information needed to make sound policy decisions and protect the marine environment.

Surveying coral within a quadrat on Kiritimati atoll, Republic of Kiribati (Photo: Maryann Watson)

2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

5 January, 2017

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017!

From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the West Coast team will continue working toward a better future for people and the environment in Canada.

Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and program staff, and see what we're most excited about in our work for 2017.

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